Nov 8, 2020

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 36 Comments

THE LINE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH ( GIỮA LẰN RANH SỐNG VÀ CHẾT)

After a round of school drumbeat that notified the ending hour, I went to the parking area and took my motorbike to go home. Looking at the sky that was still covered in gray because of the morning heavy rain, I hesitated about whether I should put on a raincoat or not. There were just a few tiny raindrops which are difficult to see were falling at that time. Finally, I decided not to wear a raincoat but to enjoy the fresh air, though I was a bit under the weather. On the way home, those tiny raindrops were getting bigger and bigger. I kept comforting myself that “It is just a light rain, it does not worth wearing a raincoat when I am about to be home in a while”. As a result, I was soaked and had a fever on that evening.

A few tiny raindrops

Lying on the bed while suffering the discomfort of having a fever, I happened to recall an article written by Tantra Amishuta. The image of the rain unexpectedly came to my mind. All the sentient beings in this Saha world have been suffering from mental illness which was grown with their own karma in samsara. The tiny raindrops represent evil karmas that human beings keep creating day by day, but they rarely care about that, not to mention adjust their actions. The raincoat represents diligent Dharma cultivation and evil karma elimination. Unfortunately, that raincoat is not always completely thick and intact; sometimes it was torn here and there because of the heedlessness, indolence, as well as evil thoughts that may have risen. The human beings’ body faculties and wisdom faculties are originally weak under the fierce power of karma; however, they tend to be “lazy” and refuse to wear a “right-view” coat. They tend to immerse themselves in worldly affairs so they can’t help encountering severe illnesses caused by evil karma. Until they step on the line between life and death, they recognize it is impossible to find anyone that can save them. At that time, wealth, fame, family and relatives, all those things become useless; as Master Tokme Zangpo had taught in “The Thirty-seven practices of Bodhisattvas” that: “Loved ones who have long kept company will part. Wealth created with difficulty will be left behind. Consciousness, the guest, will leave the guest-house of the body. Let go of this life. This is the practice of bodhisattvas”.

“Loved ones who have long kept company will part. Wealth created with difficulty will be left behind. Consciousness, the guest, will leave the guest-house of the body. Let go of this life. This is the practice of bodhisattvas”

Tantra Amishuta was much luckier than many other sentient beings since at the “near-fatal” moment, she was supported by Guru and Dharma teachings which miraculously helped her to overcome the difficulty. Another example that is close to me is my dad. During his last days, he suffered from extreme pain which was rooted from evil karma in the hospital. At that time, the family, his belongings and a wide range of relationships which were established during his life could not help him. There were many days when I visited my dad, I could do nothing but desperately watched him writhing in the pain to fight with the death. I could only cry and diligently practice Dharma, recite the mantra and pray for him. When my dad was alive, he used to be director of a governmental organization; and he had many subordinates. My younger sister worked in the pharmaceutical industry at a high position in one hospital. After my dad passed away, the neighborhood where my parents lived was filled with cars which were from many governmental agencies and departments from all over the places. However, at the line between life and death, my dad had no choice standing alone.

He really left this world with empty hands, he did not have any chance to grasp the wish-fulfilling jewel from Guru’s teachings which would later become the luggage for the journey after death. In his old age, though he suffered from being half-paralyzed after several strokes which caused it difficult for him to move his hands and legs, he still tried to make small steps. He confided to me once I visited him:
This morning I went to one temple; however, the stairs at the gate were so high that I couldn’t step inside to pay homage to the Buddha. So I could only stand outside to pray. Don’t let anyone know about that..
I had not fulfilled my wish to introduce him to Buddhism before he was gone.
The rich cannot use their money to buy a “death pass” which helps them to avoid death, neither the poor. Birth, old age, sickness and death are four secular sufferings of human beings. Those sufferings cannot be estimated by year, day, or hour; they can come at any time without any notice. In the Sutra of forty-two sections, chapter 38, it is said that:
The Buddha asked a shramana, “How long can one be sure of staying alive?” “A few days,” was the reply. The Buddha said, “You do not know about life.” He asked another shramana, “How long can one be sure of staying alive?” “The length of a meal,” was the reply. The Buddha said, “You do not know about life.” He then asked another shramana, “How long can one be sure of staying alive?” The reply was “A single breath.” The Buddha said, “Well said, you know about life!

Birth and death are unavoidable, the only means that helps human beings to overcome these barriers is Buddhist teachings; as the Buddha had affirmed that all Buddhist teachings have one common objective – to attain liberation from samsara. In regard to samsara, in The Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikaya), Cùlatanhàsankhaya sutta, it is said that one can be considered attaining liberation when that person “..keeps contemplating on impermanence, contemplating on abandoning greed, contemplating on annihilation, contemplating on renunciation of emotional tones, which also means that person does not cling to anything in this life, and that person is not bothered by any affliction, that person achieve Nirvana. That person acknowledges very well that “The birth has ended, the virtues have been earnt. What has to be done, it is not necessary to be reborn into this life once more time””.
It is challenging to the uninitiated Buddhist practitioners who are surrounded by worldly affairs. Just like the raincoat, even if it is big enough to cover them in the rain, it is impossible to avoid all the evil-karma raindrops caused constantly. There are a number of holes on the raincoat that were left by the heedlessness, indolence, broken commandments, injured vows. While wearing a raincoat on a motorbike, the person is still undergoing the samsara storm. We can only leisurely enjoy a cup of hot tea when we sit in a car. Similarly, Guru devotion will accordingly create a perfect “right-view” car which is protected by a strong vibe of Guru and the Buddhas. Therefore, those who are inside that car are able to walk freely even in the fire of samsara and reach the destination of enlightenment. In the Tibetan book of Living and Dying written by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava, it is said that:
“The absolute Guru devotion will bring immeasurable merits; Having no doubts will bring a complete success”
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche once taught that: “The only way to attain liberation is to follow an authentic Guru. Guru is the guide who leads us across the sea of samsara. Like the reflection of the sun and the moon on a calm water surface, the Buddhas’ blessings are always with those who have absolute faith. Sunlight is shining everywhere, however, only the place where there are focusing lenses can burn the hay. When the light of Buddha’s compassion is reflected through the lens of faith and devotion, the heat of blessings will then burst into flames in your mind”.

Guru devotion becomes the fastest, simplest, and most quintessential means to find the true nature of mind and the essence of the universe; as Guru had taught in the article named “Who will save you when Guru’s gone?” that: “To a disciple who has cultivated sincere devotion to Guru, even that person has not yet achieved Dharmakaya (Dharma-body) to take across other sentient beings, he/she can still activate the potential of true nature of mind (Dharma-body) to save himself/herself. At that point, the true nature of mind can be found through the delivery of Guru channel. So, this method of attaining Dharma body becomes so much easier than the other, which helps the practitioners to solve the issue of life and death, of making a smooth rebirth in the intermediate existence body, and of eliminating the distresses and calamities in their current lives”.
Within an inch of one’s life, it is not only Tantra Amishuta that was saved by her devotion to Guru and Guru’s Dharma practice method; but also Tantra Mahavita who was miraculously survived through a complex operation by visualizing Guru above the head while reciting the Mani mantra. We have also seen our Dharma brothers including Mat Thanh Phuong, Mat Hue Thanh shared their real stories, and many other Dharma brothers who were saved thanks to Guru’s six sublime spiritual practices. There have been many people who asked Guru for saving their lives at the edge of life and death and they were offered a “life-vest” from Guru. However, after being saved, how many of them keep being grateful and engraving Guru’s favor in their hearts? It is common that people tend to burn the bridge after they cross it, in other words, they tend to forget the one who saved them. In the Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha once taught that:
There are sentient beings who have no idea about being grateful and repaying. It is impossible for them to remember big favors, not to mention small favors that they had received from others. Those sentient beings are not close to me, and I am not close to them. Even if they are wearing sanghati next to me, they are still far away from me. Why? I would never be close to those who don’t show gratitude and know how to repay. Therefore, Bhikkhus, keep in mind about repaying the favors you received, don’t do the opposite. That’s what you should keep in mind”.
– You should take your medicine now, so that tomorrow you are able to go to work.
Dharma brother Nhi Khang’s voice brought me back to reality. Yes, that’s right. I need to take some medicine to cure my mental illness. I got up and turned on the computer. The picture of Guru that was in front of me with his kind, forgiving, and imposing look cheered me up and I became more determined to “get” me one “Guru devotion car” in order not to be soaked in the samsara heavy rain.
I sincerely pray for the health and longevity of Guru for the benefit of all sentient beings.
May all sentient beings be awakened in the state of enlightenment.
May our country avoid natural disasters, and all the affected areas will be recovered soon.
May Covid19 pandemic end soon.
Om ah hum.
Cao Dieu Dieu Hang.
Translated by Cao Dieu Mat Tu.

  1. Ye shi says:

    To fallow the authentic guru is the most needed in our life to liberate from samsara. Wel said..

  2. Tantra Amashuta says:

    Dear holy Guru,
    Thank you for sharing this letter from fellow practitioner Cao Dieu Dieu Hang. I also would like to thank Cao Dieu Mat Tu for this wonderful translation so I could share in reading there letter. It is one of the most taken for granted things, life itself. Most so not realize how precious and how impermanent life is even when they see others pass away. Until faced with life or death situations it never clicks that we to.i are fragile and lucky to have each moment. Cultivating right view and good karma, following lessons and devoting myself to guru’s teachings, trusting and believing him, are the modt important aspects if following buddhism, on the path to liberation, and bringing about less suffering for all as I gain right view and right mind these effects grow and spread to the world around me. Nothing is unaffected by anything else. Building God’s karna for me is bringing less suffering to others. Thank you for sharing this letter. May you live looking and well for the sake of all sentient beings, may these suffering end and may the path to enlightenment be only a step away. Om mani Padme hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      That’s right! Take advantage of this life to cultivate right view and good karma. I am glad that you are cultivating diligently by reading chanhtuduy.com frequently!

  3. Tantra Mashita says:

    Dear compassionate guru,

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with us, you can’t imagine how I admired it, you know I didn’t imagine that I can learn and change my opinion about all of these things because of this short article and the story of the raincoat, thank you so much dear honorable guru no one other you can help me to achieve the enlightenment, change my opinions and certainly practice dharma and achieve the enlightenment, thank you so much again

    I bow my head down for you
    I devote myself to you

    May you have a good health and live long for the benefit of all sentient beings
    May all the sentient beings attain the happiness of Buddha’s nature
    May the pandemic caused by corona virus soon end
    Om Mani padame hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      I am glad to know the article with its story make a noticeable progress in your journey. Keep up the diligent cultivation that you have been doing!

  4. Tantra Amashuta says:

    Dear holy guru,
    I am pleased to be welcome here and have the benefit and opportunity to learn from you.

  5. Tantra Midhita says:

    Truly a wonderful article with a litany of good analogies.
    I should take heed to avoid karmic mistakes, by not wearing my raincoat I am not protected from the misfortune of illness, both within my being and outside on my body. I am happy to have been reminded to return to chantuduy, and I would like to read more… Often I forget. Every article leaves me thinking, thinking of the next method to apply and how to do so. I wish to grow into a tree someday, so I may spend my shade for the benefit of others. Thank you for this article. Thank you very much.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Yes, please wear a raincoat by reading articles on chanhtuduy.com more often. I am looking forward to reading more of your sharings.

  6. Pete Kirk says:

    We can only be sure of being alive for but one breath. Thanks for helping me let go in this time of suffering.

  7. tantra mahavita says:

    Dear Holy Guru : Thank you very much for sharing this beautiful article. …Only through blessing and deep Devotion to our beloved Guru can we cross the turbulent waters of Samsara towards the path of liberation …Words can mean …The Inmensurable Thanks …to Our Beloved Guru …Y pray that he may have health and may be happy and have a long life…for the benefit for all sentient being…May all beings find their true Budhha Nature …May the pandemic end soon …OM MANI PADME HUM

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Correct! That’s the core meaning which you have drawn after reading! Well-done!

  8. Boying Bagz Baguio says:

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    My greetings to all chantuduy brothers and sisters, mostly special to the Holy Guru.

    Such a wonderful real life realization that has been shared. Truly that the world has an envitable questions that less often we encounter the answers. But knowing or having the idea about KARMA will enlightened our mind about why things happened in our life. I was onced been innocent about it because I was raised as a Roman Catholic, sorrounded most with Christian friends. I could say that part of my journey maybe in this realm is to know about Buddhism, and that makes me informed about karma. I’m so grateful having met a friend thru FB, who made a lot of effort to keep me in touch with chantuduy.com

    Like the rain drops, life’s challenges keeps on pouring at any given time, in any season. But having a raincoat will make us somehow a good traveler in this life, in this realm. The Dharma, will keep on shining no matter how hard the storm that may come. Always have faith on it. Have in mind, there’s always a rainbow after a hard rain.

    May all sentient beings be away from harm and sufferings

    Tantra Maruta, from the Philippines

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Yes, I am agree with you that have in mind, there’s always a rainbow after a hard rain.

  9. Tantra Aradhana says:

    Thank you so much Guru for another wonderful article with such beautiful words as always thank for everything you and to help the new learner’s feel so welcome like my self with all teachings that are so easy to read and understand I hope the on the article that was feeling under the weather is doing much better as I am still feeling under the weather today and with you Guru and Buddha by my side I will feel better soon

    Thank you so much
    Om mani padme hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Thank you for your comment! Considering “Dharma is life, life is Dharma”, articles’ topics on chanhtuduy.com can be seen familiar and easy to approach to everyone. Especially when you find yourself in the story, you will learn it faster by refering. May you get well soon.

      • Tantra Amishuta says:

        Dear holy Guru,
        Thank you kindly for this suggestion. I had not thought if that before. I appreciate itr. May you be well for the sake of all sentient beings and may all sentient beings move on the path to enlightenment. Om mami pandum hum

  10. Tantra Tanshami says:

    Thank you

  11. Mukand kumar says:

    Great article to learn. Thank you Guruji

  12. Tantra Mahajan says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    Thanks you so much for shearing this beautiful article

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  13. Mật Phê Rô says:

    Dear Guru!
    I have read article.
    Thank you so much!
    Pray Guru good health, live long because benefit of all beings.
    Pray covid 19 end.
    Om Mani Padme Hum!

  14. paul yawney says:

    Dear Holy Guru, Thank you for sharing this article. It is very well done. It points out how we must be diligent in watching for those rain drops that take us away from Buddha and Guru teachings. . we must be on guard always. May Holy Guru and consort live a long and Happy life. May all be safe from co-vid and other disasters. OM MANI PADME HUM.
    Tantra Himataru.

  15. Lisa says:

    Thank for sharing this article!

  16. Ashok Verma says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing such beautiful article.

  17. Tantra Yashami says:

    Respected Gurujis Namaskar
    I am so happy to read this Article.It directs our life towards reality and enlightenment.Guruji always enlighten our path by burning self so that we can see the right path in the darkness of this world.Our great Gurujis always help us in the hard days of our life.
    May lord Buddha grant a long life to our Gurujis.

  18. Tantra Mitsharuma (Petra) says:

    Dear Holy Guru
    I thank you for this article
    May Guru have health and be safe
    May all sentient beings feel the beauty of Buddhas nature

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  19. Charles Wentland says:

    Dear Holy Guru,
    Thank-you for sharing this beautiful letter with the rain and raincoat analogy. We do not know when we will die and may have only one breath left. So we better repare and obtain a Guru for a teacher and be obediate to his teachings, Not only must you be obediate , you must be grateful to Guru. If you practice diligent dharma, you will have a good raincoat to protect you from raindrops which represent evil karma. No one escapes samsara storm and must practice right view to obtain good karma for your final breath.
    May Guru have long healthy life. May all sentient beings attain happiness of Buddah nature May covid 19 end soon
    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Yes, that’s right. This is a very concrete and great summary for this lesson!

  20. Tantraupatissa says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article. This article shows the importance of Guru’s devotion. I totally agree we are lost in worldly things in this samsara and forget to repay true devotion to Guru and Buddha’s. Storms of samsara are very strong which are results of our past evil karmas making us stay away from deligence practise. But I still pray to Guru for giving us a courageous heart which makes us remember of Guru and try practicising Dharma. Hope we all make the bridge connecting Guru stronger and stronger. I am thankful to Guru for everything we have. We must try to be like a strong mountain which can withstand storms of samsara and devote ourselves to Guru and Buddha. Only then we can help ourselves in liberation path.

    May Guru live long to uphold Dharma.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    May pandemic of COVID 19 come to an end.

    May the world be free from natural disasters.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Yes, you can connect to me by your comments. I believe your courageous heart will against any force of samsara storms and all worldly affairs won’t become barriers to get you lost anymore.

  21. Tantra Upashiti says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    Thank you for sharing this article and opening my eyes and heart to my own practice.

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